Are you contemplating switching from glasses to contacts or considering replacing your regular contact lenses with daily disposables? The first important piece of information to be aware of is that “daily wear” and “daily disposable” contacts are two different things.
Daily wear contact lenses are removed at night but can be re-used according to a replacement schedule. Typically, these types of contacts should be replaced weekly, monthly, or quarterly depending on the brand and optometrist recommendations. Daily disposable contacts are exactly what the name implies - they are to be worn once and disposed of at the end of the day.
1. Daily disposable contact lenses are better for your eye health
Daily disposables are a popular choice for eye doctors in Calgary because they are the cleanest option for contact lens wearers. Our eyes and tears contain proteins, lipids, and calcium that gradually build up on the surface of reusable contact lenses. This process begins within about 20 minutes after insertion. A thin “biofilm” forms on the surface of the contact lens, which helps your tears spread over the surface of the lens, making the surface smoother and more comfortable. This is why it takes about 15-20 minutes for your contact lenses to become comfortable and “settle in”. This biofilm has to stick to the surface of the lens in order to do its job of making the lens comfortable.
Unfortunately, more and more biofilm on the lens surface eventually clumps into “deposits” on the surface. This happens after only a few hours. That’s one of the reasons why every contact lens becomes more and more uncomfortable as the day goes on.
Contact lens researchers have been trying since the 1970s to try and find a way to conveniently remove all of these end-of-day deposits so they don’t build up over the contact lens replacement period. Unfortunately, the search for a “biomimetic” surface that quickly forms a silky biofilm competes against the search for a deposit-resistant surface. These are competing goals, which are mutually exclusive.
To complicate things further, our climate in Calgary is very dry. Contact lens deposits build up on the surface of a “biomimetic” contact lens surface much more quickly in a dry environment, and a deposit-resistant contact lens surface feels much drier in our Calgary atmosphere. Ugh! In the end, it’s just simpler to choose one of these competing goals and create a contact lens for that purpose. In the dry Calgary climate, most patients have better comfort in daily disposable contact lenses, because the prescribing optometrist can recommend contact lenses that spread the tears more naturally over their surface and retain more moisture.
About halfway through the lifespan of any weekly or monthly contact lens, the build-up of deposits becomes bad enough that your immune system starts to realize, “there’s a problem here”. Then your eyes will start to react to the deposits. Redness, grittiness, tearing, and blurred vision are signs of an immune system reaction that most patients ignore. Eventually, your immune system can associate the problem with your contact lens material and your eyes will react even to a new, clean contact lens. Yikes! That becomes a very frustrating scenario for the patient and the optometrist because it almost always requires time out of the contact lenses in order to solve the contact lens-related hypersensitivity reaction. Oh no!
This issue becomes even more challenging when contact lens wearers reuse their contacts for longer than the recommended amount of time. With daily disposables, you’ll be wearing new lenses fresh from the package each time. This is the number one, most important, main reason why single-use, daily disposable contact lenses is healthier for your eyes. When you throw all the garbage into your contact lens recycling bag (Ask us about our contact lens recycling program), you are not putting it back into the eyes the next day. This reduces the risk of contact lens-related red eyes as much as possible. Hurray!
2. Daily contact lenses are convenient
If you’re a regular long-use contact lens wearer, you know how inconvenient it becomes when you forget your contact lens solution for an overnight trip. Additionally, you need to take time at the end of the day to properly clean and store your contact lenses. With daily disposables, you can bring a fresh pair with you and you won’t need to purchase additional solutions or lens cases.
3. Daily disposable lenses are comfortable
For some people, regardless of how frequently they clean their contact lenses, the build-up of particles causes eye discomfort and agitation. Daily disposable lenses eliminate this discomfort because, again, you are using a fresh pair every time. One of the main concerns about disposable lenses is that they may be of cheaper quality that can cause discomfort. However, this is not the case. Contact lens manufacturers have always devoted their efforts and research towards developing the most comfortable and most affordable contact lenses possible. It turns out that it’s easier to achieve these goals if you don’t have to worry about also making the new contact lens resist deposits for weeks or months. In fact, some of the most comfortable contact lenses on the market are single-use, daily replacement contact lenses. They are still the “go-to” troubleshooting lens option when patients have comfort issues in other contact lenses.
Before you switch to disposable contact lenses, be sure to schedule an appointment with your optometrist in Calgary. Any changes in vision wear should always be discussed with your eye doctor first who will make sure your eye health is taken care of, first and foremost.